Inductees Over a dozen years before the present National and American Leagues were formed, native Peorian George Pinkney was a fixture in major league baseball, playing in 1,163 games with four ball clubs in two leagues.
Born here in 1862, Pinkney first played for the famed Peoria Reds and then joined Cleveland of the National League in August of 1884 and became one of the top players of that era.
Pinkney, basically a third baseman who also played second and shortstop in addition to pitching in one game, then played with Brooklyn of the American Association, then a major league, in 1895-89. He remained with Brooklyn when it joined the National League in 1890-91 and was with St. Louis in 1892 before ending his career with Louisville of the National
League in 1893.
He had 4,610 at bats and 1,212 hits that included 170 doubles, 56 triples and 21 home runs. His lifetime batting average was .263 topped by a .309 mark for Brooklyn in 1890.
The first official World Series was played in 1903 but prior to that there were several playoff type series and Pinkney played in two of them in 1889 and 1890.
He is given credit for two early records, one going six-for-six at the plate and during one stretch playing every inning of 578 consecutive games, at the time considered the "iron man" record.
His career cut short by injuries, he returned to Peoria after the 1893 season and worked here until his death from acute bronchitis in November of 1926. He is buried in Springdale cemetery.
Over a dozen years before the present National and American Leagues were formed, native Peorian George Pinkney was a fixture in major league baseball, playing in 1,163 games with four ball clubs in two leagues.
A two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at both Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, Thome went on to a legendary baseball career as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball history. A 13th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, Thome made his MLB debut in 1991. After a 22-year career with Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, Thome ranks seventh in Major League history with 612 home runs and 24th with 1,699 runs batted in, while boasting a .276 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star and received Most Valuable Player votes in nine different seasons. Thome helped Cleveland to World Series appearances in both 1995 and 1997 and he hit 17 career postseason home runs. Thome led the American League in slugging in 2002 (.677) and the National League with 47 home runs in 2003 and he received a 1996 Silver Slugger Award. Thome also was the 2006 Americal League Comeback Player of the Year. Recognized for his integrity, sportsmanship and community involvement, Thome received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The Cleveland organization dedicated a statue of Thome outside Progressive Field following his official retirement in 2014.